Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Breakdown of Random TV Shows: Dads Part 2

Part 1

My husband (I somehow roped him in) and I are breaking down the Dads episode "Funny Girl." This show is about two sons who live with their respective fathers. It takes place at their homes and at the sons' company which seems to develop video games.

Disclaimer: I'm not a fan of this show, and I don't hide that. However, that doesn't mean that I think that this show is irredeemable or that I can't learn something about television writing from it or anything like that. I don't like it--it's as simple as that. This may be entirely about my personal preferences rather than objective standards about what is good or not. Consequently, what follows is my opinion...I hope that's obvious.

I'm trying to approach this as a television viewer who just happened to tune in so I didn't look up actor's names or anything like that.


Overall, the characters are a bland bunch. Nothing much stands out about them other than the actor/actress playing them. I couldn't really say who they are at this point. I'd say that Crawford is the most defined character, and he's just a well worn stereotype.

The characters' personalities aren't set up to maximize conflict or friction. If two random characters end up in a room together, I couldn't tell you specifically what will start sparks between them. The only ones who bump heads are the sons with their respective fathers, and that could get repetitive later on.

The characterization may be different for other episodes, but here is what I see for "Funny Girl." In order of importance to this episode's plot...

  • This guy seems to be the main character (at least for this episode), though he's  the least developed. His role is to get into contests of will with his father and be 'the single guy.'
  • likes play over work
    • casual clothes even at work
    • many recreational items in his apartment
    • focus on personal life rather than business at work (he doesn't actually do work in this episode)
  • thinks of relationships as a means to get sex 
    • has had many casual relationships
    • spends time with a woman only so far as what he'll get out of her
  • towards father
    • insulting, belligerant, and whiny
    • doesn't think his father is or can be right
    • wants to prove his father wrong no matter what
  • towards Dude
    • discloses personal information, though it was one-way this episode as Dude didn't confide in Eli
    • intimate
  • towards assistant
    • playful, can be belittling
    • has crush on her
  • towards maid
    • protective
    • friendly

  • This is Eli's friend. I don't know his name--no one ever said it in this episode. His role is to get frustrated when his father causes him trouble and be 'the married guy.'
  • more professional
    • dressier clothes
    • focused on the job even at home (though I couldn't really tell you what he does, exactly. In this episode, he seems to be doing a job that would be outsourced or relegated to someone who specialized in voice over work)
  • in a committed relationship
    • he and his wife seem happy
    • doesn't seem to like the fact that he has kids
  • towards Eli
    • concerned
    • involved
    • intimate companionship
  • towards father
    • wary
    • quick tempered and frustrated easily
  • towards assistant
    • trusting
    • casual
  • towards wife
    • passive and yielding
    • comfortable

  • This is Eli's father. His role is to indirectly challenge his son and to be a more extreme flash forward to how Eli could turn out.
  • blunt and indifferent
  • will nose his way into his son's life if he feels it's needed
  • takes advantage
  • likes to eat
  • towards Eli
    • offers advice
    • skeptical
  • towards maid
    • aggravating
    • intrigued but provokes her

  • This is Dude's father. His role is to show how a capitalistic, conservative stereotype causes problems and to be a more extreme flash forward to how Dude could be in the future.
  • business minded in every situation, even when it's unnecessary
  • oblivious to his own racial offenses
  • takes things too far
  • Republican, Wall Street type
  • towards Dude
    • kind of casual but friendly when not in conflict
  • towards Dude's wife
    • friendly

  • She is Dude's assistant (because Eli doesn't do actually work, she only acts as the other one's employee). Her role is react to her bosses' antics and bring attention to work related problems. I actually didn't know her name until I glanced at the episode synopsis (I was avoiding doing that). 
  • knows more about what's happening in the company than her bosses
  • has a high tolerance for being around people she doesn't really like
  • towards Dude
    • casual
    • tells him what to do
    • honest about what she doesn't like
  • towards Eli
    • condescending
    • ignores/tolerates his antics
  • towards Funny Girl
    • doesn't like her [not seen directly interacting with her in this episode]
  • This is Eli's maid/cook. Her role is to be comic relief, a pseudo mother figure, and someone who gets one over on Eli's father.
  • happy, for the most part
  • naive
  • not good with speaking English
  • deceptively old
  • mysterious past
  • towards Eli
    • does what he says
  • towards Eli's father
    • suffers his hindrances

Dude's wife
  • This is Dude's wife. Her role is to play mediator between Dude and his father.
  • proud, feisty Latina
  • towards Dude
    • makes decisions for him
  • towards Dude's father
    • sympathetic

Funny Girl
  • This is Veronica's 'friend' and then Eli's date. Her role is to be he plot device used to cause conflict in Eli's life when they date and he finds that she has to always be the unfunny clown.
  • girl
  • always makes unfunny jokes and does crappy bits
  • towards Eli
    • an audience for her jokes and no more
  • towards Eli's father
    • indifferent to his grumpiness
  • towards Veronica
    • never interacts with her 'best friend'

All right. These are the main characters of this episode. The next part will focus on the story/plot.

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